Bob Dylan Liverpool May 8th 2017 Concert – review and photos

What can you say about Dylan that hasn’t been said? He’s a law unto himself. He does what he likes. He does not seem to care about what anyone thinks. He ploughs his own groove.

In terms of the many Dylan concerts I have attended over the years I rate this one as middling – an interesting night. I enjoyed it. It was a strange eclectic mix of styles. It was different to anything I’d seen before – but that is not unusual – nearly every Dylan concert is different to anything I’ve seen before. But this one was not up there with the best but neither was it down there with the worst.

You never know what to expect from a Dylan concert these days. We mainly go along to pay homage to someone who has been a master songwriter, major influence on Rock and songwriting, a great performer and someone responsible for putting poetry and social conscience into Rock Music. He is a genius. We pay our respects.

Was Bob a bit shaky? No not in the least. I thought that he looked good – at least from the distance we were away – and his voice sounded fine.

So we paid our money and took our seats. This gives you some idea of where we were. We were so far away that it took us three numbers to work out which one was Bob Dylan. He fooled us by mainly sitting behind the keyboards and occasionally straying out into the middle to grab a mic stand which he proceeded to hold at an angle and croon.

At no time did he pick up a guitar or go near a harmonica.

The band were excellent, Bob was in good voice and the sound system was brilliant. There were no screens or stage effects or paraphernalia – just Bob and his band.

We were instructed not to take photos. What is that about? Is that Dylan? Can he have become that greedy that he doesn’t want people having a free memento?

At no time did Bob talk to the audience. They went from number to number without any intro.

Bob looked almost the cowboy with his white hat and white and black suit. You couldn’t help thinking that this was Bob doing Showbiz.

That was reinforced by the eclectic mix of material. I never, ever thought that I’d hear Bob crooning ballads like Autumn Leaves, That Old Black Magic and the like, but that is what he did. You had to relax into it. It was Showbiz. It actually sounded OK – in fact a lot better than I could ever have imagined. Bob’s voice sounded alright. Besides I had got used to it from hearing the last two albums of standards. This wasn’t Dylan, the snarling scourge of society; this was Dylan the Showbiz performer – the song and dance man.

In between the standards he sprinkled some of his own stuff. There were brilliant versions of Love Sick, Desolation Row, Ballad of a Thin Man and a rather strange Blowing in the Wind. This was music. It wasn’t geared to making you think or driving you to the barricades; it was simply good music. He wasn’t commentating, taking a stance or making any points. He was singing. There was a range of styles from Swing, Country to Rock and the band was up for it all.

I enjoyed the evening, despite it not being value for money, and came out thinking that it was another strange event in the Dylan lexicon of oddities. I had previously endured the Gospel period and other gigs where he did not seem to care at all but I had also seen him when he soared. All things will pass. Dylan will move on and do his own thing – be his own man, not beholden to anybody. But I still yearned for that socially aware Dylan of yore who spat out his poetry with barbed fury, the Dylan who used his guitar, harmonica and voice as weapons, who set us alight. That was the man who had woken me up to thinking about war, social injustice, freedom and hypocrisy.

In front of me was a young couple who talked through the whole gig. At the end she turned to her partner and said ‘well at least I can say that I’ve seen Bob Dylan now’. That is what it has become.

I saw him but he was missing.

This was brought home to us all on the way out (past the sold out merchandise stalls). There was a guy outside busking with a guitar and harmonica, singing those early songs with gusto, venom and feeling. He sounded like the Dylan of old. He meant it. He wasn’t doing music. He was doing something more. A huge crowd had gathered around him cheering him on and getting into those old songs. They were still new, vital and meaningful – just as relevant today as they ever were. Those songs were the rallying call of a generation. They were the ones we all craved for.

Maybe one day Dylan will want to be a leader again, to make a stand against the madness consuming us? Or maybe he’s content to keep his head down and cream off all he can take?

58 thoughts on “Bob Dylan Liverpool May 8th 2017 Concert – review and photos

  1. Rather interesting insight… I’d be very sad leaving his concert in that situation. You go there not so much for the music but to try and connect with the artist in a way only music allows… and it seems like that didn’t happen this time.

    1. A good observation Teresa. Connecting is so important. With Bob it is somehow different. I do get the feeling that he feels trapped and puts a wall up himself. I think he is shy and vulnerable and very leery of having all that onus of being ‘the spokesman for a generation’ on his shoulders. He shies away from getting involved, commenting or accepting recognition. He is an icon. I go to see him these days with low expectations so I don’t get disappointed. He avoids connecting. In some ways it is very sad.
      Maybe one day he will want to come out blasting and say it again with feeling? Or was all that rhetoric and stance a sham? Is he just ripping people off?
      Bob is an enigma.

      1. I have this idea that people tend to harden with age. To settle for things not changing around them despite their efforts and simply coming to terms with it. Could it be he’s done with trying? Maybe his hope as a young man somehow started to fade? I know, that would be even sadder.
        But I refuse to believe it was ever a sham. You cannot fake the kind of feelings he once showed us through his lyrics and that we could experience physically on his voice and expression.

      2. I don’t know. It is possible that we see the futility of trying to oppose the machine as we get older and so give up trying. But I think it was more dramatic than that. With Bob it happened all at once way back in 1966.
        He has written some great songs since but has never had the social impact that those early songs had.
        Perhaps he had a breakdown and thought it through that he did not need the responsibility; he didn’t want to be a leader. It was too much – so he shunned it?
        Perhaps he gets bored easy and moves on to something new regularly?

  2. I think we both know that it isn’t particularly accurate to state that you have attended many Dylan concerts, as you yourself stated previously that you’d only been able to catch him just a few times before. But that’s neither here nor there. What I do wish to comment on is most of the above which I must admit, found a trifle baffling.
    Firstly though, I guess this is the sort of experience anybody could have of any concert, anywhere, where you take a seat half way out to the car park. I’ve never been that distance from the stage at anytime, at any gig, not least Dylan, not even at Blackbushe `78, with the other 249,999 punters.. The last time I’d seen him in the UK, prior to his recent visit as per usual to Glasgow, on 7th May, was in 2009, where I had a seat in the front row, 2 seats left of centre. Not that I got to use the seat as I spent the gig even closer to the stage on the front rail. I’ve never been further back than the 16th row in the last 56 gigs attended, except 7th May, where I specifically opted to choose front row of the balcony seats, so that I could record the concert without any hassles. Good thing too, as the recording turned out to be in the main, spectacular.
    I couldn’t actually go to a Dylan gig if I was going to be that far away, as for all I know could very well be watching Meat Loaf perform Swan Lake.

    One does indeed know what to expect from a Dylan concert these days. Tour reports are constantly updated daily and all over the internet. They’ll even tell you what key Bob’s Harmonica was in (if he so chooses to play one) on the 4th number etc. The details of gig coverage is immense. They’ll also inform of any lyric changes which may or not be temporary.

    He didn’t fool anybody by sitting behind the keyboards. These keyboards, are in fact a Baby Grand electric piano, which could be seen from the moon. Bob has in fact been keyboard bound since and continuous from 2003! That’s to my calculations 14 years, at an average of 100 concerts per year, rounding out to some 1,400 concerts in similar circumstances. Who on earth has been fooled here, prey tell?

    Personally, I thought Bob’s vocals were extremely good and stronger sounding than what’s evident on many of his official albums. Of course, it does help if one is familiar with the songs and in particular that of the actual lyrics, which is a key point to my enjoyment, upon noticing the change of emphasis and inflection that he readily employs.
    Of course, this flavour of Dylan to be seen centre stage with only a mic stand or simply just the mic itself is by no means a new feature. He started to do this regularly back in 1993, as evident from his concerts here in UK. To be specific, the first 4 songs of each concert. I remember as I went to at least 4 of these shows.
    He seldom bothers with his guitar, if at all for many years now. He doesn’t need to as he’s got 3 of the best guitarists locked into his ‘thing’ that’s he’s ever had and he’s said as much. He couldn’t keep up with these guys. He’s got a whole other thing going on there with multiple choices of instruments that can be whipped out at a moments notice.

    The no photo thing is nothing like what you’ve made of it, which to a degree indicates an unfamiliarity with these larger gigs in big halls. A lot of concert goer’s quite rightly have expressed concerns to hall management regards the widespread bad habit where many attendees spend the entire concert with one arm in the air holding their iPhones. When you’ve got a few thousand of these in front of you, what of the show are you going to see? So, the deal is now these days, nothing at all.
    The same rules where enforced at Bob’s Glasgow Armadillo show, albeit a theatre holding only 3,000. Bob’s choice evidently as he played 3 nights there in 2013 and prefers it to the other 10,000 and 14,000 seater halls. But I wholly welcome this no iPhone/camera rule as these things are a total visual pest.

    Given that you’ve seen him live in concert many times, I’m surprised that you were surprised at Dylan’s non communique with his audience. I reckon that I must be in possession of around 500 recordings on bootleg of Bob shows. I could count on one hand the number of times that he’s ever said anymore than “Thank you ev’ry body” in response to the applause after a song, or the simple act of introducing his band. I’d have to go back to the Born Again Tour San Francisco Warfield shows of November 1979, or Nuremberg July 1978, whilst introducing Masters of War before a German audience for the first time, or his rap about hanging out with Gypsies in France at a US gig in late `78, or his home gig in St. Paul, Minnesota, in October 2002, where he tells the audience he grew up just over these hills here and his first girlfriend was so up herself, he called her Mimi, or his gig at Barrowland, Glasgow, June 2004, where he stopped the show to tell the 2,000 of us that we were the best audience he’d ever played in front of, with “you know these songs better than me”, and that was just an extra gig stuffed in at the last minute as he sold the big hall out in an instant.
    No, Bob hasn’t been known for being the Bruce Springsteen or Bono Vox – chatty man whilst doing his own gig. Leave that to the Liberace’s of this world. That’s where the showbiz angle lies.

    As for Bob’s attire. Again I’m surprised, as that’s exactly what he has been wearing every night for every gig, bar none, since 1997! 20 years in a western cut suit and hat and yet you express some kind of surprise! What’s showbiz about looking like you made an effort? He’s not Kurt Cobain, or some spotty retarded kid with his elbows hanging out his sister’s shrunken in the wash jumper. The entire band wear cut suits, always have, but I guess from half way out to the car park you’d never have known.

    I’m not so sure that you’ve followed the thread that Bob has indicated on so many occasions now, past and present. These old songs are those that he grew up with, those that he remembers and cherishes best. His favourites were mostly all written before he was born (24/5/41) and this is what he loves doing. You’ve watched Scorsese’s “No Direction Home” documentary, right? – where he tells you to your face that he’s already reinvented his own musical wheel more times than he can remember and he’s through with that now. That documentary was recorded circa 2004/05, so I think fair enough warning was expressed and given. Dylan hasn’t been the snarling scourge of society since London booed him off stage in May 1966, 51 years ago. That’s a very, very long time ago. Besides, he’s done many far more interesting sojourns with his music that that short little exercise so long ago. You’ll find just as much going on in his gigs 1997-2007, if checked out thoroughly enough. There’s multitudes of astonishing re-interpretations of his most famous songs, where it’s akin to hearing the song fresh for the first time again. You needn’t have to be an arrogant or hipster young dude to get a specific point across with bravado attitude. Dylan let’s his songs do that work for him. If one cares to listen properly as to how he does this, it’ll all come crystal clear.
    You just weren’t listening if you say “it wasn’t geared to making you think”. That’s nonsense and the manner in which he expressed himself during in particular Love Sick and Desolation Row said a thousand words. Didn’t you get what he did with these? Didn’t you notice how he changed Love Sick from what was originally a complaint into a confession of weary acceptance? What about Pay In Blood? If that wasn’t a sneering snarl at the scourge of society, then what is?

    I’m not so sure also with regards any endurance of the Gospel period, for the simple reason being that he didn’t bring that particular show to these shores. We got an extremely diluted tail-end version some two years after the event, where the concerts only featured at most about a third of the songs with any sort of that flavour. The set lists and recordings confirm that.
    Finally, had you really been to as many Dylan shows as you prefer to maintain you have, I’d sincerely doubt you’d be quite so keen to hear those that you refer to for the nth hundredth time again. If that were the case then I’d feel short-changed, but I didn’t because I got something new, and I accepted that at least a quarter of the songs have to be performed for those that have either never or seldom been before. That’s OK with me.
    Not for a second could I ever have believed that Bob at 76 next week would be playing his best gigs ever, but I’ll settle for an 8.5 score Dylan show over anybody else’s 10.
    The recordings tell the truth, not our vague, scant memories.

    1. Hi Andrew,
      Thanks for the interesting input, though I think that some of the points I was making have been misunderstood.
      We booked the tickets from Australia and missed the boat consequently ending up with about the worst seats in the house. But never mind, I prefer to see Dylan rather than not, though some large screens would have been nice.
      I have followed him since the early sixties and kick myself that I didn’t get to those early gigs when he was red hot. I was still a tad too young and not mobile but I could have got there if I had realised even though it would have been an enormous effort.
      The Dylan I yearn for is the fiery one who spat flames, scorched society and created all those masterpieces. Though I am fully aware that that kid no longer exists. He opted out of the role long ago.
      I go with low expectations and am pleased with whatever I encounter. I have seen him in many guises and levels of competence. The worst was the Gospel show, complete with Gospel baking singers, at Earls Court. I have seen him when he has engaged and been talkative and produced a scintillating electric show – Sheffield I believe around 18 years ago – and I’ve seen him when he has been semi-comatose, lacklustre and couldn’t be bothered – Liverpool? around 12 years ago.
      I am aware that he has been dressing up for a while and that still upsets me. It feels symptomatic of the Show-Biz creep that he seems to have become – though I don’t like to admit that. The whole show screamed of rip-off from the expensive seats, overpriced merchandise to the lack of screens. I make mental excuses for him because he means a lot to me and I feed off the crumbs.
      I haven’t had real access to the internet for three months so not able to check out reviews – though I doubt I would anyway. I prefer to judge it for myself without being influenced by other peoples views.
      I bury my distaste for his money grabbing and showbiz style deep and concentrate on what I find good – his songs, the lyrics, the band, the sound system. He is a genius. I pay homage.
      It is a sad indictment that I think I preferred the guy playing outside with gusto. He had passion and brought the songs to life. Dylan crafted them into songs but lost the spark for me – and the standards were mediocre though interesting.
      I was surprised his voice was as good though.
      I have been to the arena a number of times – last time was the Who doing quadrophenia – and they always allowed cameras. A changed policy?
      Overall I enjoyed it. I’d give it a five.

      1. I didn’t realise booking on the internet, from Australia or wherever could be so discriminatory. Australia wasn’t the reason, but your latent booking. Suffice to say that the 2 Aussie Bob Cat’s that I was talking to had great seats for every gig on the tour.
        As I said, we didn’t get to see the Gospel show here, as we only got a third of it.
        I thought the band in `81 were better than The Band of `74 – not that I saw these shows, and more rocky than the band of `78, that I saw twice, Blackbushe and Earls Court. The energy coming off that stage was like a Soul Revue. I loved it.
        I don’t think he’s dressing up to such a level as you indicate. Besides, he introduced his new look back in 1993 when he did walkabout in Camden Town, promoting his new album “World Gone Wrong”. He’s looked that way on stage for 24 years now. Were he to show up looking like Tony Bennett or really dressed up like Elton John, then you may have a valid point.
        Since when was a suit regarded as dressing up? You’ve obviously never been to Paris or Marseilles, Vienna or Munich, Rome or Prague, where these people really know how to put on their own show. They out-dress Bob by a mile, makes them feel good. I couldn’t help but notice the number of women at a couple of these recent shows who’d really gone to town on their attire. It looked great, too and adds to the entire spectacle. It would be drab if we all turned up in our old t-shirt, worn out jeans, dirty trainers and ragedy anorak wouldn’t it?
        The seat prices were as per normal these days. You paid (I think) £65, where my Glasgow ticket was £75. I think my Wembley ticket was the same.
        I remember paying £55 to see the Stones in 2003, if that’s any consolation.
        And I’d confirm that his merchandise is the same price levels as everybody else’s is. I checked out the quality for a youngster who was with us, before he parted with whatever it was for a t-shirt, and at least it was good quality gear.
        Not my seen at all, as wild horses would’t get me in any silly looking “rock” t-shirt.
        There’s your creeps, those bozzo’s who go to a gig adorned with a tour t-shirt.
        What jerks!
        I was also at The Who’s recent gig just a couple of weeks ago. They played the 13,000 seater with on screen cameras so all could see. There were many holding up their iPhones for too long where I couldn’t help but notice punters shoving those in front of them, shouting at them to “f-off with that thing in my face”. Quite right, too, IMHO. I do hate these damned things and regard those that insist on holding them up as extremely selfish. But a Who gig is a world away from a Dylan gig, where there’s so much more going on, plus all the rear screen projection films running tandem with the set list. I found myself at times watching the screens, even though I was in the middle of row E, 5th from the stage and not watching Townshend in front of me, which is ridiculous really.
        But I agree that cameras should have been used in that big shed in Liverpool.
        He only played about 5 of these old numbers, taking in only about 20 minutes of showtime. He played 15/16 Dylan numbers, so you weren’t short changed. He’s previously done entire tours with a set list of less songs than that, if you care to remember. He’s done entire tours where his set’s been sprinkled with ancient Scottish and Irish ballads, that about 3 people in the entire audience might have recognised. What’s different? And tell me, what’s the point in wishing for something that you never saw in first place 51 years ago anyway?

      2. I guess it is all a matter of taste and perspective. For a lot of us Dylan represents a lot more than the music.
        I got pretty much what I expected and his voice and arrangements of the standards was better than I expected. Overall I enjoyed it……. but it wasn’t really Dylan – not the Dylan I was bowled over by.
        And no – I didn’t see Dylan live back in the sixties, but I was immersed in his music and have heard every bootleg and film.

  3. Well that was interesting… sadly for all the wrong reasons. Bob Dylan is, sorry was my hero. He spoke for a generation, he was anti establishment, he was cool, he was one of us, he spoke for us, he gave us great songs that moved us, he was not a sell-out.
    So I turned up to the Liverpool Echo Arena aware that at 76 his voice might have gone, that he might not bounce around the stage, that he might play a few of his recent songs, that maybe he had mellowed, so expectations weren’t high- surely Dylan could deliver.
    Firstly the Arena itself- decent enough venue but absolutely no security getting in, no bag searches, no frisking, nothing. Very relaxed, until anyone tried to take a photo of Dylan- oh my God, security coming out of everywhere and pouncing on any offenders- what a joke.
    Now for Dylan- if anyone wants a lesson in how to rip of your loyal fans this is what you do….
    1. Charge £65 per ticket
    2. Fill a big arena but don’t worry if the fans can actually see you. Don’t have any big screens- they cost money as do any sorting of lighting effects. Keep the stage dimly lit- it saves on electricity costs.
    3. Instruct the bouncers to jump on anyone taking a freebie photo
    4. Sing a load of stuff most of the crowd have never heard
    5.Keep them waiting ’til the encore for your anthem song (blowing in the wind) but sing it to a new tune so they don’t recognise it until the chorus
    6. Don’t speak or acknowledge the audience- your apologists will say you’re shy/ introverted instead of plain bloody rude.
    7. Have a band that can’t play, out of tune, out of time- it saves money on decent artists
    8. Have a sound system that crackles every time the drummer hits a symbol- new systems cost money
    9. Leave your guitar at home, after all who would expect Bob Dylan to play guitar (or harmonica)
    10. Cling on to a keyboard and play like Les Dawson
    11.Let the apologists make your excuses and keep the legend alive- you ‘re-worked’ a number of songs apparently. I just thought you sang and played out of tune.

    Without doubt the worst concert I have EVER been to. Even if you are a fan- stay away, save your money. I wish I’d stayed outside listening to the tribute act.

    1. I can identify with most of what you are saying. He meant a lot to me too. Though I did enjoy the gig and thought the band were excellent. Certainly not the worst concert I’ve ever been too. I’ve seen Dylan twice before when he’s been worse and a couple of times when he’s been great. You never know what you’re getting.
      I also felt the same about the guy outside. He was great and hit it just right.
      I don’t like to think of Dylan as a money-grabbing rip-off who has sold out all his principles. But perhaps that is what he has become.
      Why would anybody want that much loot?
      Why would someone with those early sensibilities become so different?
      I too will think twice before going to another Dylan concert – I probably will stay outside and sing along with the busker. Putting £5 in his hat will feel cleaner.

    2. Steve, strong views but dare I say it those of Dylan concert novice, one who’s never been before?
      1) £65 is bulk standard normal these days.
      2) Ticket prices are more or less determined by the hall management rental charges plus the number of security bods they have by law to have on board these days. It would be a mistake of judgement to lay the blame for prices wholly and only on the artist.
      As for “large arenas”, hardly eh?, compared to Earls Court, with it’s 19,000 seats, which he first played and filled way back in June 1978, six nights in a row, and did the same thing again in June 1981. No big screens were in operation then either, and tickets were expensive, too.
      If it’s any consolation to you, Dylan charged £75 Glasgow, that’s £10 more, however, the hall only seats 3,000 opposed to Liverpool’s 11,000, therefore, sound and views automatically superior.
      The acoustics in that Liverpool Arena are dreadful, it’s a horrible venue and most unsuited to listening to music in. Fine for a kid’s scream fest for a boy-band but nothing much else.
      3) It’s extremely irritating for everyone to be surrounded by flashing cameras all night, or did you seriously expect that the vast majority would just take a couple then put their cameras away? None at all is the best policy for the sake of everyone.
      4) By the sound of things it must have been your first ever Bob gig, what with expectations of guitars, stage chat and only playing his greatest hits.
      90% of the audience know these songs already. You didn’t obviously, but one press of a button would have told you that before you booked your seat. You go blind, you tend to stay blind.
      5) You’ll find Bob has had many an “anthem song”, and BITW is usually, if at all, further up the setlist. All Along The Watchtower is by far his most played closing number, with Forever Young high up on the count list, too.
      6) as explained in my previous post
      7) There’s one thing that band weren’t and that’s out of tune. Blame the halls lousy acoustics bouncing back off the back wall all out of synch.
      8) What century are you at? Bands don’t take “sound systems” on tour with them anymore. They bring their own amps which feed into the halls sound system. These big black structures hanging in the air, that’s not Dylan’s gear, but the hall’s. There was certainly no such extraneous noises the following night.
      9) Most people didn’t expect to see Bob with a guitar, as has been the case these last 14 years. That’s self explanatory isn’t it?
      10) Again blame that lousy hall’s acoustics. Find yourself a decent recording – any of the 1,400 shows where Bob’s on piano, and try again to see how much truck you’ll get from the Les Dawson jibe – which kinda indicates a mentality of an era long gone by.
      11) Dylan’s been re-inventing his songs since 1975. You do have a lot of catching up to do.
      If you’re trying to convey something, what exactly was it?

      I think you’ll find many a busker, blowin’ in the wind to himself outside a Dylan gig and I’ve seen the same luminaries so many times that we’re almost on first name terms. Some of them are known to follow the tours around.

      Oh, I think if you were to think harder and back into the midst of time, you will eventually recollect some shockingly bad gigs. This just wasn’t one of them.

      1. You know Andrew I just think some of us have dreams that exceed what has become the norm. We find it hard to accept the lesser model we are presented with. We hanker, unreasonably, for the real thing – not a bunch of standard ballads. We go in hope that maybe, just once, he will be in the mood to get his guitar out and give us what that busker was pumping out.
        Silly I know but those of us that are a little older still cherish the vibe – it topped everything including the music. We want someone to stand up and stir us like he used to.

      2. Yes £65 is pretty much the going rate, as is the expectation that the artist might make an effort.
        I don’t blame the ticket price entirely on the ‘artist’ but he has some responsibility and should earn his money. Also when you compare the amount Dylan paid out from the ticket it would be minimal- no screens, poor lighting, no support. Wouldn’t have minded £65 if he had earned it. I still feel cheated.
        I agree that camera flashes are annoying but not as annoying as incredibly dim lighting that prevents a clear view of what’s going on. Had I been able to see and had the sound and performance been any good I wouldn’t have noticed a few camera flashes.
        Sure Bob’s most committed fans might recognise his songs but let’s be honest, most people there knew his hits of the 60s/ 70s, his reputation isn’t built on his later work. I only recognised a handful of songs but didn’t like the new versions. As for ‘blowing inn the wind’- only recognised this greatest of songs from the chorus- a complete mess.
        As for the band being in tune- you seem to agree that they sounded bad but have decided it was down to the acoustics. I can’t claim to know why they sounded so bad- either they were bad (get a better band) or it was the acoustics (don’t play in venues with these problems)
        I didn’t expect Dylan to play guitar all night, but I did think he might have picked one up at some time during the night.
        I am amused to hear Dylan has been re-inventing songs so long- why? Can’t play the same tune twice- call it re-invention, might fool some of the people all of the time.
        As for me having a lot of catching up to do… no thanks, I’ll leave that to the true fans who compete for who’s been to the most concerts and who has the most albums. The old stuff was relevant, it built his reputation and he still needs to keep that reputation going to sell tickets. The new stuff is awful (just my opinion).
        I’ve had a long think and no, I can’t think of a worse concert, it was the Damned at Manchester Apollo circa 1980 but Bob’s my new number 1.

      3. Steve – I feel a lot of that too. Though I think I went in with my eyes open and wasn’t expecting too much. His music has been so brilliant but the man is a strange character. He doesn’t do justice to his work and doesn’t seem to care. I did enjoy it though.

  4. I would suggest that he’s had his guitar out 3,000 times before. Sadly for you, by not going it wasn’t an experience to be had often enough. Your age bears no relevance now whatseover. It would have done in 1966, but not today. He’s performed a plethora of so much better gigs than these rough ‘n’ ready of `66. Some people regard this real thing that you’re hankering for as “standard ballads”. Which says something about the passage of time and changes of attitudes.
    I actually wouldn’t prefer Dylan to be standing there just doing The Times They Are A-Changin’ and Blowin’ In The Wind. He’d end up like Pete Seeger, a one-trick pony. He’s never been that. Or worse, a Bob Dylan Tribute act. What a horrible thought. Who the hell and why would want that, I’ll never know.
    Why don’t you understand that about Dylan?
    The vibe remains exactly the same for you, me and my 16 year old newbie fan neighbour. You have no more ownership of this vibe than my dead grandmother.

    1. No I don’t want a tribute band or someone stuck in a time-warp. I’d be welcoming of more new songs on a par with that string of genius he so seemingly effortlessly churned out in the sixties. There have been some good albums since and some great songs but, for me, he has never quite scled those heights again.
      What I wouldn’t mind seeing though is Bob and his guitar and a pared down electric band in the mode of Butterfield and Bloomfield – raw and exciting – and him wanting to do it with passion and feeling – different altogether.
      But maybe he hasn’t got it in him anymore?

      1. Mmm…. not too sure about that. Kinda old fashioned and harmonica’s can quite quickly get mighty wearisome to listen to at length. Principally though, I really don’t think he doses himself up on amphetamines anymore, especially now in his mid-seventies. I’m pretty certain that had he been more like Butterfield & Bloomfield, that he too would have died 35 years ago. These two drugged and drank themselves into very early graves.
        Of course he hasn’t got that energy anymore, he’s 76 next week.
        Have you got the same energy you had at 23? Get real.

      2. My energy levels are not what they were but in concert performance the adrenaline kicks in.
        I’m not suggesting Dylan at 76 could pull off what he did on speed at 20 odd. That would be too much to ask. But he could still do a passable job. I think his time with Tom Petty was as close as it got for me.
        He was probably wise doing the rehab. Too much of nothing good can take its toll – though some seem to manage.

  5. That’s some claim to make. You sure about that every bootleg part? How do you square that? What information source do you use as measurement of attainment that you have heard and seen everything?

    1. Well I’ve got a heap of just about everything available from the 60s. It’s pretty exhaustive. What isn’t there is probably not going to add much to the overall value. My Dylan files are extensive and comprehensive – hundreds of hours. It gives me a very clear picture of what he was up to, sounded like and was thinking. Though I’m always interested if anything else appears that I haven’t got.
      I’m sure you have a number of your later tapes that I don’t have. But I have hundreds of them too.

      1. I asked what information sources you use to ascertain your assumptions.
        It would not be possible to form any conclusions with just your own devices.
        I for one, would not know what I had in the grand scheme of things were it not for owning several books of detailed data, some of which were extremely limited prints. Once I’d learned the contents of these it was only then that I realised the true extent of what’s out there and what I needed/wanted to find.
        I reckon I must have splashed out somewhere in the region of £10k on Bob boots over the years.

      2. Well I haven’t spent anywhere near that but I still have accumulated a wealth of outtakes, concerts, radio broadcasts and interviews sufficient for me to feel it is comprehensive. That’s good enough for me. Between 1958 and 1966 I have 339 CDs worth. Even with a lot of repetition in there that is still a lot of Dylan and I reckon covers most things worth having.

  6. I really didn’t rate that Petty & Band too highly, and neither did Dylan, as he expressed at a later date. I thought Petty & Co were extremely pedestrian – just as their own music is and moreover, Dylan allowed Petty far too much stage time for his wearisome (6th form level lyrics) American radio-kinda thing songs. I’d have by far preferred more of the `84 band, which were absolutely brilliant and allowed for many of the best shows he ever played. That was definitely a point where Dylan really moved up several gears.
    As for adrenaline – in Dylan’s case – I doubt very much that adrenaline will be playing any part in his performances for the simple reason he plays too often, at an average of 100+ shows a year, every year. He tours constantly because he actually hasn’t anything else going on in his life other than wanting to be on the road. He plays loads of shows in small theatre shitty college campuses in Nowheresville, USA, just to keep himself busy. These certainly can’t be for chasing the dollar. That’s actually quite an incredible level of self discipline and probably what keeps him going.

    1. I liked them, even though I don’t rate Petty too highly, because I thought they injected some energy.
      Dylan usually surrounds himself with good musicians. I thought the present band were excellent. When they did the Dylan stuff they were superb. It was Dylan who was a little lacklustre for me.
      I’m not sure. Hiding behind a keyboard with a great band is one thing – being exposed on a stage with just a guitar and harmonica is something else. Maybe it would raise the heart rate?
      I think he tours constantly because he has stage-fright. It’s the only way to deal with it. Just a theory. He seems nervy to me.

      1. I thought they plodded through everything and everything sounded the same because they only know how to play in one style – that being Petty’s level of mediocrity.
        On the other hand, Dylan is in total command of everything he does. Absolute Total. He’ll have a band member removed at a minutes notice, not that he performs that task himself, but look at the fall-out rate over the years. He’s actually only ever allowed one guy back into the band, lead guitarist Charlie Sexton.
        He was in the studio recording with the exact same band he’s just come off a 120 date tour with. This particular track wasn’t going as he’d planned and he turned to the band and said “well I guess I just don’t have the manpower”.
        Are these the words of a guy suffering any kind of nervous ailment? I really don’t think so.
        The only thing he in any shape or form is reticent with is talking about himself.
        Too many people fail to realise that Bob Dylan is only that of a stage persona.
        He’s Robert Zimmerman, an entirely different, yet for real character.
        Bob Dylan is just a fantasy character, who can be anything you want it to be.
        Mr. Zimmerman himself, does not possess such unworldly attributes.

      2. But don’t you think we all get caught up with our public personas? Zimmerman has been changed by Dylan.
        I look at the film of him, his tics and stance, his mannerisms and he looks nervous to me. In different situations people react differently. Who knows?
        I know what you are saying about Petty and his ability. I wouldn’t buy a Petty album. But I still liked the energy of the shows. Took me back to the Rolling Thunder energy.

  7. I had asked (twice) what sources you had used to help you work out what you had or didn’t have or more’s the point should have. For some reason you avoided that very plain and simple question, so I can only conclude, nothing.
    Not even a mention of which labels you believe have provided you with the best stuff is another indicator.
    Anybody can hit spotify, download and squirrel away on file. That’s hopeless, there’s no details and you won’t even know who’s playing what.
    Plus the fact that often the bootleg sleeve notes are inaccurate, therefore, these inaccuracies spread like a virus. Source information resolves all these inconsistencies. Without them, you’re scuppered. Plus you’ve only got 5% of the music.

    1958? By that you mean the incomplete Ric Kangas classroom recording. Hardly worth mentioning really. Had you perhaps made mention of the missing 7 songs from Dylan’s first official outing 4/11/61 at Carnegie Hall, then that would tell me something. But by not having any source information, any missing anything would be an unknown factor.

    However, I’m somewhat perplexed about your derision made against the show that you inaccurately perceived to be the “Gospel” show with backing singers, as above, yet you just now cite Tom Petty & Heartbreakers later 1986-87 shows as some kind of high point.
    Guess what – do you know who the backing singers on that tour were, or perhaps had absolutely completely forgotten or simply never even knew?
    The Queens Of Rhythm, again, the very same whom had done the 1981 show you cast derision upon, although always a 4-piece, members come and go.
    This is what happens when you download stuff without a clue as to what, who, where and when.
    What a waste of bloody time.

    I’ll give you some helpful pointers, otherwise you will remain where you are – totally unwitting.
    1) Tangled Up In Tapes – A Recording History of Bob Dylan – by Glen Dundas. He produced several volumes updated every few years, with the last printed publication in 1999, 4th edition, printed in Canada and published by SMA Services, Thunder Bay, Ontario.
    Definitely never to be found in your local Waterstones.
    This includes every session with full details of what was recorded, where and who by.
    Which songs are in circulation in the hands of collectors, those that are not, and those that are officially released and on which releases they can be found.
    This is the ONLY way of establishing the details of the multitudes of outtakes generated with every album Dylan has recorded. These include complete session listings acquired by Michael Krogsgaard from the Columbia archives, whom any Dylanite will know as “he who knows”.
    With secondary input from Clinton Heylin, whom was not granted quite as thorough access to the Columbia archives.
    Plus every single concert known to have been performed, setlists if known, personnel if known,
    which songs were recorded onto Soundboard, broadcast – where and when and by whom and whether in circulation or not.
    Lists of gigs known to have taken place where no information or recordings exist.
    All matters regarding changes of personnel during tours.

    2) Strangers And Prophets – Bob Dylan CD Boots Volume I.
    Limited to 999 copies, published by Next 2 Last Publications, 1990.
    The first 100 Dylan factory pressed bootlegs, photocopy of sleeves, full tracks information, corrections, catalogue and matrix numbers.
    Plus: Strangers And Prophets – Appendices.
    Full written details and editorial commentary of the contents of Volume 1.
    3) Strangers And Prophets Volume II + Appendices, published 1991.
    The 2nd 100 Dylan CD bootlegs.

    The Telegraph. Issues 1 – 55, Edited by John Bauldie (who was killed in a helicopter crash along with his pal, Chairman of Chelsea F.C., in 1996)
    The best `zine ever, full stop.
    Included details of every bootleg released following on from Strangers And Prophets Vol 2.

    The Bridge. A continuation of The Telegraph, although obviously written by others.
    3 to 4 issues per year.

    ISIS. Issued bi-monthly, giving full Dylan activity reports, new bootleg releases, set lists, gossip, everything and anything. Still going and edited as always by Derek Barker. Also available on-line by subscription.

    Dignity. No longer in circulation. An extremely high-brow quarterly publication featuring essays and observations by almost every Dylan expert on the planet.
    The editor, John Baldwin (dead now, I believe) – Desolation Row Promotions, ran the UK fanclub seating arrangements. Not once in some 10 years of knowing him, did I ever receive tickets further back than the 5th row. I’d go to Wembley Arena for both shows, 1st night in the 5th row, 2nd night in the 3rd. And always in the centre stage section, never down the sides.
    What a guy!

    These are the publications that gave me all the information I needed and the huge jigsaw began to make some real sense. Without these there’s a dearth of deficit of information available.
    Before the above publications, I had thought I knew a bit. In retrospect I didn’t at all, and knew no more than the erroneous information as printed on the tin.
    There are many sites that list bootlegs and they look great. But when you actually read them, they have carried forward with them the same misinformation as repeated from the crumby sleeve notes. Useless. The very same rewards are obtained from the freebie download sites.

    Finally – True Story.
    From late 1993 – late 1997, I was never at home in the UK as I worked in Asia. Although I had been home before and after these dates whilst still working in Asia. But I’d fly to London for gigs.
    Anyway, come `97, I came home and struggled to open the vestibule door inwards as it was jammed up by the mountain of 4 years of mail. Included within this sack of stuff where 87 packets containing Dylan tapes of concerts sent to me by my Dylan contacts – many of whom I don’t think I ever met in person. Somewhat daunting looking at 87 tapes piled on the kitchen table. Most of them were the usual fair – poorly recorded, nth generation dub, similar set after similar set from the same tours, that I already could guess what was coming next.
    I eventually listened to them all and stuck either a green for keep, red for don’t – stickers on them. Then I went through the track listings again looking for one-off’s on the tapes I didn’t want to keep. I kept 10 tapes and made up another new one of the one-off’s.
    I then went through the couple of hundred other tapes I had and did the same. Basically, I cleaned out the rubbish as I would never be listening to them again. What a relief as I could now readily find stuff that I enjoyed listening to and they sounded good. I’ve followed that code ever since and harbour no rubbish, just top quality really good stuff. And I know exactly what it is and why I have it. And they’re all fully listed and annotated with by-notes. I can pull anything out from anywhere in mere seconds. Bingo. Job done. And what’s more I don’t need to keep referring to these books time and again as I’ve learned the stuff from all these hundreds of hours of studying them.

    1. You see Andrew I don’t operate or think like that. I do not have any great desire to be up on who’s playing even. I listen to the music and collect what I like the sound of and what interests me. I form my opinions from that.
      You take it to a whole other level. That’s great. I’m impressed. But that is not my way.

      1. You need a map to navigate with otherwise you’re lost.
        But Opher, if only you had a map to navigate with then you would not be attempting to tell a complete Dylan-head like me that you have the equivalent of 339 CDs covering the years 1958 -1966. I don’t think you realise exactly how ludicrous that tally is. Even with margins of error and duplication, that tally would have to duplicated about 4 times over. You don’t half talk rot.
        You’ve no idea what you’ve actually got.
        I worked out what is out there in general circulation and adding up the albums, the outtakes from these albums, private home tapes, club tapes, in concert tapes, film soundtrack outtakes tapes, radio tapes, tv shows etc, it would equate to around 85 CDS – a quarter of what you claim to possess.
        I suggest your way isn’t working too well for you.

        What’s also evident is that by not being informed this makes any credible commentary rather difficult, as in the case in hand. Information is king.

      2. I am sure there is a lot of duplication in my collection of 339 files. Stuff comes out and is recompiled and revamped. I know that.
        I know what I like and what I am interested in. I play it and listen to it. I pass opinion on what I hear, feel and see.
        As far as I’m concerned information is secondary. Sometimes I’m intrigued and sometimes I’m not. But I do not go analysing and systematically sorting. That is not, for me, what the music is about. I collect it and play it.
        My collection gives me a pretty comprehensive account of what Dylan was up to over the years – enough for me to form a picture and comment on. I have most things that are out there and I appreciate it greatly.
        I am aware that you take it to another level. I’m impressed. But I’m not sure it makes you appreciate the music any better.

  8. I cannot for the life of me even begin to imagine how it would be possible to compare Petty’s efforts with that of Rolling Thunder. Petty’s crew had nothing remotely like it. Mick Ronson and David Mansfield, Howie Werth, not forgetting Joan Baez… compared to Petty & Co?!
    I’m afraid I’m beginning to lose all confidence in any of your comments now regards Dylan, as I believe that you are very misinformed.

      1. Well I’ll have to entirely disagree on that and I reckon 99% of Bob fans would, too. Petty & Co were perhaps the nadir of his entire live history. So much so in fact, that Dylan has not permitted the re-release of their Australian concert video to be put out on DVD. The only Dylan product with a blanket hold on it. Which says something and a lot more. He even permitted the ‘Dylan’ album – the ‘Self Portrait’ outtakes to have several re-releases, but not this.
        His own solo performances on that `86-87 tour were great, but whenever Petty & Co showed up it really wasn’t happening at all.

  9. By not having 4 to 5 times the duplication you struggle with, plus all mine is on CD, and not on that mp3 rubbish that I cannot listen to, as I explained to you before, this means that I’m not mucking about. I can find anything at a moment’s notice and I know exactly what it is – can you?
    And by knowing exactly what it is infers that I understand exactly what it is.
    And if I were to ask you how many verses he used for a particular song when played live in `64, would you know? I think I’m able to appreciate the music at a whole other lever from yourself because of these attributes. I already told you my buzz at gigs is looking out for changes in expression, inflection, and the lyrics of course – and you don’t think I appreciate the music? Are you nuts or what?
    Weren’t you the guy that sat at the gig for the 1st 3 songs clueless as to what he heard? And you’re asking me whether I understand the music or not?! Don’t make me fucking laugh.

    1. Do you really deliberately misrepresent what I say?
      I sat for three numbers not being able to see which one was Dylan.
      I have MP3, CDs and vinyl. Normally all my stuff is right where I can find it straight away. Right now I don’t have access to CD or vinyl because I am doing up my room. It is all stored.
      While it is of minor interest how many verses were sung I’m not falling over myself to find out. What he says in his songs is paramount and that is what I focus on. The recorded material is best for that. The live stuff is interesting but doesn’t add a great deal. I take on board the poetry, message and vibe – not the details of who, where and when.

      1. No, you stated that you have seen Dylan live on many occasions. That was not the truth of the matter otherwise you would not have spent the first 3 numbers wondering where the hell he was on the stage, because you would know he’s been behind keyboards constantly these last 14 years. Which means you have not attended one single concert in that entire length of time and yet you want to argue with me! Don’t be so damned stupid. I will crucify you with my huge knowledge of all things Dylan.
        Were you to engage your brain from your arse, you might actually ask me what ARE the best performances to look out for throughout Dylan’s entire recorded live history, because I’d be able to tell you. Not just which shows, but also exactly which versions of said shows. Your smug delusion strangles you from taking just one step forward in getting to the real sources. Christ, if I had carried on like that with my collecting process with my rather large pool of very helpful and vastly more experienced Dylan contacts, I’d have got nowhere – or to put as fine a point on it – I’d be where you are – Tangled Up In Tapes, with no idea what he’s got or not got. A high number tally as you so choose to boast means absolutely fuck all. You possess next to no integrity with your approach which in turn creates non-acumen.
        No, you misrepresent yourself by making claims of ownership to 339 CD’s of material from 59-66, which as I explained is a complete impossibility.
        Then you make claim that the 81 tour with the backing singers was the worst thing you ever heard and then go on to state the 86-87 tour with the very same backing singers was some of the best stuff you ever heard. You really haven’t got a clue about any of it. You’re all over the place and just can’t resign yourself to accept that you’re up against a guy who really knows what’s he’s talking about but are too bloody ashamed and embarrassed with yourself to admit it.
        Were we both on the same page, then I wouldn’t have to be quite so blunt.
        But seriously, the shortcomings with your lack of knowledge regards any facet of detail makes any discussion completely and utterly futile.
        I’ll say it again – you cannot navigate without a map.

      2. As I keep saying you seem determined to twist what I say. It was the gospel material I detested not the backing singers. It rankled.
        I have seen Dylan a number of times and it is true that he spent a lot of time on the keyboards so I should have cottoned on to that quicker but I was a little thrown, as were others around me, by band and stage layout. Dylan was very peripheral.
        I was not boasting. I was responding to your enquiry.
        If you would only get off your high horse and stop trying to pick a fight I would be extremely interested in your extensive knowledge of Bob. Your views on the best material would be interesting. But all you are trying to do is pick fault and flaunt your own perspective. When you are rude and put people down all the time it is not conducive to an intelligent discussion.

  10. Then you went further to state that you believe the recorded material to be paramount. Blimey, have you so much as ever listened to a word Dylan has said in any of these interviews? He regards his albums as simply blue prints – his real interpretations of these songs are in live performance. You could not be further off the mark on this.
    You really need to watch ‘No Direction Home’ again and again and again – then it might sink in.

    1. He might think that but that doesn’t mean he’s right. He likes to play about with it and develop it into different forms but that doesn’t mean they are better. I enjoy most of his interpretations but usually prefer the albums.
      Why do you always present these things as black and white? They aren’t. You don’t have to be so confrontational.
      Dylan says all manner of contradictory things for effect or to justify his actions. Who knows what he really believes.
      All I know is that I like his stuff and love what he said in his songs – particularly the early ones.

      1. It’s actually Bob, as such, doing the presenting – there’s nothing at all black and white about it as I’m simply conveying what he’s said on the interviews that I’ve heard. You say you have interviews and you couldn’t possibly have any I don’t, but what little there is, I fear you have not paid them the slightest bit on attention as your comments above confirm. There’s just 2 on recorded tape since 1991. The one in 1991 with Elliott Mintz, a “Westwood One Special” and released as a promo cassette for the then release of the first batch of The Bootleg Series was very interesting. As of course was the Scorsese one some years on.
        He’s done nothing else apart from a couple of comments about other people, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash etc. Given these circumstances and his overall attitude during these interviews, where he certainly wasn’t playing any head games with anybody, least of all Scorsese – you must understand that – I have no doubts that he meant everything he said. For you to flippantly toss them aside on your own volition and certainly not on behalf of the several hundred Dylan fans that I know and discuss things with, is frankly ludicrous. You really don’t have a handle on the guy’s machinations at all.
        “Something is happening but you don’t know what it is, do you Mr. Goodwin”
        By transforming these blue prints into performance structures he is able to perform them in several different ways, therefore, not boring his frequent concert goers to death with repetition, least of all himself and fellow band and making very occasional attendees like yourself, think to themselves “I recognise something, but what is it exactly?”
        Where’s your evidence for your claim of him contradicting himself to justify his actions? You haven’t got any! Or your harking back to him being totally out of it in “Eat The Document”. Man, you do live in such distant past. He’s moved on from his Woody Guthrie days, didn’t you notice? You’re 50 years behind the whole deal. Go and watch “Hard Rain” and start from there. That’s an excellent starting point for his reinvention and modus operandi. There’s the blue print for his mission statement. Find the Japanese broadcast version as the picture quality is better. There you go, I’ve just shaved 10 years off your catching up revision. Just another 40 odd to go. I’m sure you’ll make light of it.

      2. I thought I detected a lack of Guthrie songs in his concert. Maybe they’ll be back in the next one? It would be good if he did an album of Guthrie covers wouldn’t it? Better than those tedious standards, don’t you think?

  11. It’s been a while since he played a Guthrie number, about as far back as the early 1990’s, I reckon, with Pretty Boy Floyd being the most frequent.
    I think he’s burned out with the standards now as he’s recently completed the exercise with Triplicate, which I’ve listened to once and it will never be on repeat play.
    He’d have to do something with the music to back Guthrie’s lyrics otherwise that too would make for a fairly drab listen. Plus they’re mostly on the same theme, dust, dust and more dust, although he has on many occasions played the songs that Guthrie performed but didn’t write himself. But if he’s in retro-mode, I wouldn’t say it was an impossibility, but perhaps Springsteen’s already beat him to it in that respect. And we can’t be having Dylan playing 2nd fiddle to that grease monkey.
    An EP, maybe…

    1. An EP would be good.
      But Guthrie’s songs, while musically simple, are by no means on one theme. Dust Bowl ballads was only one album out of the hundreds of songs that he wrote and he wrote some stunners.
      Springsteen didn’t do a Guthrie album – just a reference or two. There’s still an opportunity. He’s surprised people with burst of Folk and Blues. Who’d have thought he’d do Gospel, Swing or a Christmas album? I’m sure a Guthrie album would go down well.

      1. His career would never have had the longevity it has achieved were he still acoustic bound a la early 60’s. He had to embrace other styles, plus he’s always alluded to his wide palette of tastes. The Christmas album was something he knocked up in an afternoon and gave the takings to charity – hardly much more than than a bit of tongue in cheek fun.
        I know the Springsteen album, got it, played twice, bored me to death. But he’s done other stuff on a very similar theme. He’s welcome to it.
        Billy Bragg & Wilco did a couple of Guthrie number albums, but they didn’t sell too well, despite Wilco being the biggest thing since sliced bread on the Americana scene at the time. People didn’t seem interested.
        I still don’t think there’s a wide enough variety out of all Guthrie’s stuff – it’s all very much the same theme – which Dylan went on to do much better.
        I think the message that poverty breeds poverty and governments are corrupt has been well and truly received these last 75 years.

      2. I agree with that and like much of the styles he played around with. I’m not suggesting he should have stayed acoustic. My favourite period was the first three electric albums. It is just that every now and then an acoustic set would be nice.

  12. Steve,
    Support acts never work too well at a Dylan gig as too few are interested and remain in the bars.
    I recall a Van Morrison/Dylan double bill. One would think it would be full house, it wasn’t as when Van went on first the place was half full. The next night Van went on 2nd and the hall, Wembley Arena, half emptied. Plus the fact he doesn’t do support acts and hasn’t since I can’t remember.
    As for lighting, again that’s not his style, he’s doesn’t do his stage lighting like Blackpool. It’s always been at a subdued level – have a look at any of the concerts films, except the specially lit TV specials, obviously, and you’ll see that for yourself.
    I said the acoustics at that Liverpool venue are not good and nothing to do with the band. The band are seriously great players. You were just unlucky in that bad hall. That’s why I chose not to go there and went down to London instead, but I usually do that anyway.
    There’s also the issue with volume level controls that are in strict accordance with the laws these days. All our concert enjoyment of the past has been savagely curtailed by these nuisance health and safety idiots whom are intent on treating us like fragile, sickly, ebbing children, where we must never be subjected to “noise levels” above a certain decibel scale. The bigger the hall, the further back you are, the quieter it will be.
    In other European countries they don’t seem to give a damn for EU regulations. I’ve been to Dylan shows in recent years in Italy, Greece and Czech Rep and it’s so much louder.
    But rest assured that in a city like Liverpool, run by such people as it is, they’ll play the council regulations game to the letter.
    I’m sorry but I don’t agree with you at all regards cameras and stuff. I remember a Cohen gig being marred with that as because it was a seated gig, all I could see in front of me were hundreds of little screens being held aloft.
    I’d also have to disagree with your assumption that his reputation isn’t built on his later work.
    Around 1986/87, Dylan’s reputation was at an all time low. He’d just come off a dreadfully bad choice tour slumming it with the woeful Tom Petty & Co. He knew it, too. His previous 2 albums had flunked.
    This is when he hired a musical director in the shape of G.E. Smith to find him a band that could do his stuff justice. That was the start of what’s known as “The Never Ending Tour”.
    This was also when he recruited Daniel Lanois to produce his next album, which was his best for many years, “Oh Mercy”. He did that again with Lanois, with the even better “Time Out Of Mind”, in 1997. At that point never had demand to attend his shows ever been as high since 1978.
    That was an absolutely crucial pinnacle point in his career to date.
    I think if you were to have experienced a lot more of what he can do with his songs you might not be so cynical.
    I don’t think Dylan could ever please you with your list of expectations, what with big screens and big bright lights and songs sounding exactly the same as the albums etc.
    Perhaps something like Steps (currently touring I believe) or Barry Manilow on his final, farewell, goodbye everybody, I love you all tour, maybe better suited to your expectations of what a musical concert should be.

    1. Or perhaps Dylan just gives poor value for money because he’s turned into a rip-off artist?
      If you save money on lighting, props and screens it should find its way back to the fans and not into his pockets?

      1. What a silly comment considering you’ve not been to a Dylan gig for nigh on 25 years.
        You’ve never seen big lighting, props and screens at a Dylan gig in your life so why expect that now.
        If you want that go see Roger Waters. He’s £85.

  13. Enjoyed reading this!
    I’m a Alternative music blogger based in India, fairly new to WordPress. My latest blogpost is about Royal Blood, the new heavy rock duo who have been applauded by the legend Jimmy Page himself, they have opened for Foo Fighters and Arctic Monkeys are big supporters of this act. Rock riffs haven’t sounded this good since the 00s.
    Do check it out and my other related articles too and feel free to comment and share your views.

    1. Oh, I very much think that Tony Iommi puts that claim into touch with the 2 most recent Black Sabbath albums, “13” from 2013 and “The End” from 2016. The riffs are absolute MONSTERS! Everyone else may as well pack up and go home.

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